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How to design engaging Kubernetes learning experiences for the tech community

How do you design a learning platform to become viral in the tech community? The Kasten team turns education into a powerful demand generation vehicle to attract and engage the developer community.

In the previous blog (Kasten story: part 1), Tom Leyden, VP of Marketing at Kasten, explained the marketing strategy behind using education to generate demand. In this blog, Victoria Avseyeva, the Manager of Digital Experience and Design at Kasten by Veeam, will share what it takes to design an engaging learning platform with a seamless learning experience (Kasten story: part 2). 

Highlights:

  • The Kasten team noticed a need to understand Kubernetes before considering a Kubernetes backup solution like Kasten K10. Kasten by Veeam built a learning platform for their buyers to upskill on Kubernetes.
  • The UX and design team focused on the Kubernetes learning platform that suits the needs of the tech community.
  • Building an easy-to-use and seamless learning experience is the goal for Kasten — Instruqt is the perfect solution.
  • Via this learning.kasten.io, Kasten’s marketing team has generated 7,000 leads in the first quarter at launch using virtual hands-on labs.
  • The Kasten team plans to move forward by creating labs for partnering technologies.

Here, Victoria will discuss her team’s process of designing a well-received learning platform from the tech community and the crucial components in designing a seamless user/learner journey.

Background Story of Kasten’s Kubernetes learning platform

So as Tom, VP Marketing at Kasten, mentioned (you can read his story here), we had an amazing experience exploring the Kubernetes ecosystem, and it’s a unique ecosystem. 

Just a brief explanation, at KubeCon 2021, we heard a lot of interest in the community to learn how to use Kubernetes. We started building the idea. We collected data from a lot of primary and secondary research looking into the foundation challenges of learning Kubernetes. In 2021 Q4, we launched a full-on Kubernetes learning platform a few months later. 

It offers unique hands-on labs designed by subject matter experts to help people of all abilities to upskill in Kubernetes. Registration skyrocketed to almost 7000 users in the first quarter at launch, with nearly 3000 users completing the labs.

Questions to ask when designing a learning platform

The design questions to ask when building a list of considerations sound very basic but are critical for getting to the end user’s mind before conceptualizing the platform. The questions I asked my team and our users are:

  • What kind of product do we need to build? 
  • Who are our users – talking about personas, their needs, thoughts, feelings, and why? 
  • How do we identify their problems? 
  • How can we help them solve those problems easily and successfully? 

Our primary focus is understanding users, what they need, what they value their abilities, and not forgetting about limitations.

You need success metrics to measure performance

How do you know when you and your colleagues have designed a product that works? The answer is choosing a success metric and sticking with it. For the marketing team at Kasten, one of our objectives is conversion. 

That being said, conversion rates and engagement are a few of our top success metrics. We stated our important metrics before we started working on the concept of the product, and we still measure these two metrics today to know what needs to be improved daily for  UI/UX side.

How to design, build, and maintain Kubernetes labs at scale

kasten's hands on kubernetes learning platformjpg

When you enter the Kasten learning platform — you will see it looks like a website, but it is actually a platform within the platform.

Let me walk through what you see when you enter our platform and put all the different components together. We have 20 + apps application integrations. What I mean by this is integrations for the courses, management, and hands-on labs.

My team and I looked into several virtual lab platforms, and we concluded that Instruqt was a perfect solution for us. 

With Insturqt, we can offer labs, hands-on labs, and walk the learner through the prerequisites and the theory materials. Behind the scenes, we have all kinds of analytics running, helping the team look into success and pain points for the learner.

In addition to the virtual platform, we also have integrated behavioral platforms. This way, I can know how our users walk through the user journey and improve the experience. 

Now I want to talk about the user interface and why we decided to go in this direction. I aim to build products that provide a friction-free user journey. Based on our research and competitive analysis, the best way to build any product is to ensure it’s easy to use, no matter how complex.

What does an easy to use, friction-free user journey look like

Kasten’s Kubernetes learner journey starts somewhere online on the internet, people looking for solutions for any products, and our product is free Kubernetes training.

If you look at the“home page” or starting page, you’ll find a menu listing actions/skills the learner can accomplish. The purpose of this is to make it easy for the learner to understand what they can get from our platform. They can easily choose and click on the subject material they’d like to learn.

We provide free Kubernetes training, and after the learner completes each lab, they get a dedicated badge, and also by the end of the module, the learner will get an additional badge.

The badges are a way for us to incorporate an element of gamification into the platform and ensure a pleasant learning experience.

Our users learn from the Kubernetes experts in the DevOps community

We provide labs. We provide many resources free resources for our users. And as Tom mentioned, we work with expert instructors. We have an awesome group of people dedicated to creating Kubernetes content. It’s amazing to see veterans in community space helping others. 

In our learning platform, learners can actually follow these experts, get in touch with them, and ask questions. 

The learning journey starts with a self-assessment test

To begin your journey on this platform, you will need to take self-assessment, and it’s straightforward. It’s a few questions. This helps us understand end-user and user needs, where they come from, what they need, and how we can help them.

After the assessment, the learner will receive pre-study materials

Before starting the course, the learner will first see an explanation of what to expect from this platform and how to walk through the material. It’s fairly easy. It’s only a few steps. 

First, the learner will review pre-study materials, then start a 25-minute learning journey within Instruqt. After some theory, the learner gets to practice what they’ve learned. And then they earn rewards. 

We provide a lot of CTAs, call to action to guide the learner. Where you can register, take your preferred lab or assessment test, and then have easy access to our labs. 

We have hands-on Kubernetes learning that fits all skill levels

Our main goal was to build a platform that is not only for professional people who have already done some research or have experience with clusters — the people who have already worked with Kubernetes. We also want to help the people that are starting from point zero.

This way, it doesn’t matter how experienced you are. You can take a Kasten Kubernetes course. If our users want to start from zero, they can.

All of the content on learning.kasten.io is easy to navigate

As a UX designer, I want to ensure that the user can easily navigate and find the information that’s relevant and important to them. So what’s Kubernetes? What are the advantages of learning Kubernetes, the challenges, and how can you solve these challenges? And also have a Q&A section, and I talked about instructors. 

They can easily navigate and find the basic information when starting a course from Kasten. 

The learner has access to ungated resources and content

Talking about resources, we provide a lot of resources. It’s not only for courses, the prerequisite section, but we also have some recourses available to people who have not registered. 

But to access all of the available courses and resources, they first need to register. This way, they can also join and engage with the community we’ve created.

We are building an engaged tech community

Kasten has a community page where we provide several ways to engage with open sources. It’s the channel where people can explore more, stay engaged, learn more — all to help the community be thriving. 

My focus with learning.kasten.io is to design a seamless learning experience

In short, my team and I are to build a seamless experience learners love. 

It starts with a prerequisite as a blog, which is a description and some valuable information about the lab itself. Then we have a lab video overview, which is very helpful, and lab slides — an outline of what you’re going to do. 

So far, the feedback from our users on this journey has been fantastic.

The tech community is loving the Kubernetes courses

We have a lot of great feedback from our users. Some of them say,

“I want to say thank you to all who are responsible for building such a great platform for newbies and learners.” 

Kasten’s hands-on labs powered by Instruqt are very well laid out. It’s simple for the learner to navigate, find what they’re looking for, and just makes the experience fun. 

So we also have a lot of features coming up, and we really care about our users, and we are looking forward to improving our user experience design, making it more exciting and fun. 

We will provide more support. We will provide more chat channels for communication and engagement. And for the user interface, we are launching some cool features pretty soon. So stay tuned.

This learning platform has proven to be a phenomenal tool for  marketing and sales

Feedback has been excellent from end-users worldwide, for starters. Still, the feedback has also been exceptional from our salespeople, and I think this being a marketing effort, this is an excellent outcome. 

We have received several emails from our salespeople saying, 

“Hey, this prospect or this customer was actually super happy with the platform, and it helped them to understand Kubernetes better. It enabled them to understand the concept of backing up Kubernetes applications better.“

We’ve been getting suggestions of which labs to be adding in the future. So that is also pretty awesome feedback, and one direction that this is heading in is is creating labs with partners.

So I mentioned that it’s essential to educate people on how your technology integrates with partner technologies. 

The next step is lab collaboration with Kasten’s partner technologies

One of the plans that we have for the future, based on the feedback coming from customers and prospects using this platform, is to create a few labs with partner technologies, which will allow us to expand to a more extensive network.

Like what you read? Get inspired with Instruqt’s test drive

Let us show you how to use Instruqt to generate demand for your products through education  👉  Take Instruqt for a Test Drive

The Show Notes

Kasten Story (Part I): How to generate demand

Kasten Story (Part II): How to design engaging Kubernetes learning experiences

Kasten Story (Part III): The Product Marketer Wishlist: a demand gen hands-on learning portal

Kasten by Veeam

Kasten Kubernetes Learning Platform

Victoria Avseyeva on LinkedIn

KubeCon by Cloud Native Computing Foundation

Connie Tai
As the CMO at Instruqt, Connie oversees the overall marketing strategy across all marketing initiatives, acquisition channels, and distribution channels. Together with her team, she's responsible for the company's blogs, podcasts, overall content strategy, and product launch and customer demand campaigns.

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